They should have been prepared for this. This should surprise no one — except, of course, those who have actually believed that the mosques in Britain have departed from Islam’s traditional teaching and are not preaching jihad and Islamic supremacism. “Exclusive: Army is fighting British jihadists in Afghanistan: Top Army officers reveal surge in attacks by radicalised Britons,” by Kim Sengupta in The Independent, February 25 (thanks to all who sent this in):
British soldiers are engaged in “a surreal mini civil war” with growing numbers of home-grown jihadists who have travelled to Afghanistan to support the Taliban, senior Army officers have told The Independent.
Interceptions of Taliban communications have shown that British jihadists — some “speaking with West Midlands accents” — are active in Helmand and other parts of southern Afghanistan, according to briefing papers prepared by an official security agency.
The document states that the numbers of young British Muslims, “seemingly committed jihadists”, travelling abroad to commit extremist violence has been rising, with Pakistan and Somalia the most frequent destinations.
MI5 has estimated that up to 4,000 British Muslims had travelled to Pakistan and, before the fall of the Taliban, to Afghanistan for military training. The main concern until now has been about the parts some of them had played in terrorist plots in the UK. Now there are signs that they are mounting missions against British and Western targets abroad. “We are now involved in a kind of surreal mini-British civil war a few thousand miles away,” said one Army officer.
Somalia is also becoming a destination for British Muslims of Somali extraction who have started fighting alongside al-Qa’ida-backed Islamist forces. A 21-year-old Briton of Somali extraction, who had been brought up in Ealing, west London, recently blew himself up in the town of Baidoa, killing 20 people. The head of MI5, Jonathan Evans, has raised the worrying issue of British citizens being indoctrinated in Somalia, and Michael Hayden, the outgoing head of the CIA, warned that the conflict in the Horn of Africa had “catalysed” expatriate Somalis in the West.
But it is in Afghanistan that British forces are now directly facing fellow Britons on the other side. RAF Nimrod aircraft flying over Afghanistan at up to 40,000ft have been picking up Taliban electronic “chatter” in which voices can be heard in West Midlands and Yorkshire accents. Worryingly for the military, this has increased in the past few months, with communications picked up by both ground and air surveillance, showing the presence of more British voices in the Taliban front line.
The men involved are said to try to hide their British connections but sometimes “fall back” into speaking English. One senior military source said: “We have been hearing a lot more Punjabi, Urdu and Kashmiri Urdu rather than just Pashtu, so there appears to be more men from other parts of Pakistan fighting with the Taliban than just the Pashtuns who have tribal allegiances with the Afghan Pashtuns. It is this second group, the Urdu, Punjabi speakers etc, who fall back into English in, for example, Brummie accents. You get the impression that they have been told not to talk in English but sometimes simply can’t help it.”…
Read it all.